An Unofficial Guide to Microblogging for Those who are Totally Uncomfortable with Ambiguity


So I’m knee deep in Twitter, looking around and having a ball thinking “I’m rocking this social networking thing” when I realize, I’m not social networking, I’m microblogging. Whoa, what the what?! It had all seemed so straight forward…or so I thought. I write a blog – that’s blogging. I talk with friends on Facebook – that’s Social Networking. I sync up with work contacts on LinkedIn – definitely Social Networking. I tweet to friends and follow industry voices – now I’m microblogging? It felt like that time you had a glass of wine and thought “I’m totally fine” and then you stood up and you were drunk. I was drunk on Social Media, or maybe I was just the town drunkard in a land called Social Media. Whatever. Either way, I’m the kind of person who needs clarity. I crave logic and order in my day-to-day life and deal poorly with ambiguity.

So here’s the question for this week’s post: in the vast sea of Social Media, is there room for people like me in the world of microblogging? How can I, and my fellow left brainers (FLBs), learn to ride the wave of ambiguity? Rather than a how to use Twitter (which I did last week, for those who feel like revisiting), this week I wanted to get to the bottom of what makes each forum different and how me and my FLBs could embrace our logical side and still be totally great at microblogging. To say it a different way: since I won’t ever be able to tame that wave, how can I be the best surfer ever!

First, let’s start with the reassuring words of Heather Mansfield in her book Social Media for Social Good. In her guide to the novice social media user, Mansfield says of the microblogging forum Twitter “Most nonprofit communicators learn how to microcommunicate effectively through a process of trial and error over a period of months, or perhaps even years.” Great, so it wasn’t some sort of weird genetic mutation that we weren’t born with, FLBs, but where do we go from here?

Step 1: What do you want to get from your microblog?

There might be LOTS of reasons you personally or your organization wants to microblog. I mentioned a few reasons in my post last week, but if you’re building out a strategy for your organization and want to think critically about all the different reasons and ways you might microblog, take a quick click through this presentation on 17 Reasons Your Organization Should Use Microblogging.

Step 2: Which platform is right for you?

Which to pick, which to pick. Here’s a short video that discusses why people are heading toward Tumblr that I found illuminating.

David Karp on Tumblr vs. Facebook and Twitter

Or if you’re ready to get serious, you could read this short article on Top 10 Microblog Sites, It gives a great background for each.

Step 3: Who is doing that already REALLY well?

This will depend a lot on which platform you choose, so once you decide it’ll be up to you to do the on the ground research to learn who is really rocking it and gather up all the information you can on how to make your microblog as rocking as theirs is.

Step 4: Create a plan.

Check out these 7 Tips for Creating a Social Media Plan for Your Business. A few of these are redundant to what we’ve already discussed here, but I liked these particularly starting after #3. I also thought Heather Mansfield did a great job of this in her book, really emphasizing the time that should be taken to update each type of platform.

There you have it, FLBs, we’re in business! All my ducks are in a row, I feel all organized and logical. I think I’m ready to microblog…or maybe I’ll just make a quick spreadsheet first to outline the plan.

Featured image Step Into Liquid by Jurvetson via Flickr


6 thoughts on “An Unofficial Guide to Microblogging for Those who are Totally Uncomfortable with Ambiguity

  1. Teressa,
    I loved your blog because I had the same questions and it felt like I didnt know much about the social media space out there, and here I thought I knew it all because I had a facebook account for so many years.

  2. Teresa, thanks for the info about Tumblr. Never having used either micro platform I was going to stick with Twitter until I saw you post. After spending a few days on Twitter it does indeed look very generic and maybe too familiar and I like that Tumbler is not restricted to 140 characters.

  3. Great post. I liked the part about making the spreadsheet first 🙂 I think it is intimidating for people that like to be totally organized to just “jump into” something like twitter, but it does seem to be the best way – it really takes some trial and error to come up with the best way for an organization to microblog or to use social media.

  4. Great post Teresa! I feel the same way in terms of not sure what to use or what is the best tool. Like Catherine said its all trial and error and there are constantly going to be changes to the platform so its kinda like a long experiment seeing how it will adapt and change…and if we will adapt as well 🙂

  5. Hi Teresa. Great post Teresa. I really like Step 2. I used to have a Tumblr account for my photography class but I thought that time Tumblr is just sharing photographs. At that point, I don’t know anything about microblogging. Maybe, I should reactivate it.

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